Northwest Montana is home to an abundance of forestlands, and one of the perks of this sylvan landscape is the unique opportunity to harvest your own Christmas tree.
The U.S. Forest Service is issuing Christmas tree permits for $5 at each of the Flathead National Forest offices in Kalispell, Hungry Horse and Bigfork. Each permit is good for the harvest of one tree from National Forest Land, with a maximum of three permits per household.
Getting outdoors to find and cut the family Christmas tree is one way for kids and families to explore, learn and play in public lands.
The forest has an abundant choice of trees and areas from which to choose for selecting your tree. Do not cut trees in campgrounds or other developed areas, previously thinned stands and areas posted as closed to Christmas tree harvest. Please select a tree that is 4 inches or less at the stump. Cut the stump as close to the ground as possible and don’t harvest an oversized tree to just utilize the top portion. Once your tree is cut, securely fasten the permit at the base of the tree before transporting.
As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders are eligible for one free Christmas tree permit. For students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid Every Kid in the Park Pass. To obtain the pass, visit www.everykidinapark.gov, follow the instructions on the website then print out the paper voucher.
Permits can also be purchased from a variety of retail vendors in the area, and for a list visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/flathead/passes-permits/forestproducts.